Nitrates are one of the most well known, but dangerous contaminants commonly found in drinking water. It is particularly problematic for vulnerable individuals such as infants and pregnant women.
How do nitrates get in my drinking water?
Nitrates are chemical compounds made up of nitrogen and oxygen. Nitrogen and Oxygen are naturally found in soil, and are absorbed by plants as a source of nutrients. However, nitrates can also be created from various human and agricultural activities such as mining and commercial farming.
Excess nitrates are formed when microorganisms break down things like fertilizers, manure, sewage and the residue from septic tank leaks. When there are too many nitrates in the soil for plants to absorb, water runoff can move those nitrates into groundwater and surface water supplies (and eventually into our drinking water). For example, nitrates placed on corn field runoff into nearby stream, which then either are moved into rivers or sink farther down into the groundwater.
What are the health effects of nitrates in drinking water?
- Infants: Infants are the most prone to experiencing health problems from nitrates in drinking water. Nitrate consumption can lead to the possibly life-threatening disease, methemoglobinemia, better known as blue baby syndrome.
- Pregnant women and people with reduced stomach acidity: In addition to infants, pregnant women and people with reduced stomach acidity are also prone to methemoglobinemia from nitrate exposure.
- Healthy adults: Although healthy adults are less susceptible to health problems from short-term exposure to nitrates in drinking water, prolonged exposure to high levels of nitrates has been linked to gastric problems due to the formations of nitrosamines.
Our Aura H2O Filter can effectively remove nitrates and other contaminants such as fluoride and chlorine from your drinking water.
Source: Colorado State University Extension